Immanent Divine

God is a psychic fact of immediate experience.

Carl Jung speaks of the immanent aspects of God when he says “God is a psychic fact”. In Carl Jung’s view, God is first and foremost a subjective experience.

This insight presents a shift in perspective. God is no longer seen solely in terms of an objective and transcendent otherness toward whom I must have faith. A new horizon opens in which I realize God as a subjective, immanent truth. This truth is realized through symbolic life– dreams, imagination, and visions– as well as through mindful awareness. Jung says:

The “God-image [coincides] with the archetype of the Self” (CW 11, par. 757, in Answer to Job).

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on the Kore

Oil painting of Hades abducting Persephone. Oil on wood with gilt background. 18th century. Property of Missing Link Antiques. Via wikimedia

In Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious (CW 9i), Carl Jung speaks of the Kore as an image of feminine innocence. The kore is an archetypal image. As such she “belong[s] to the structure of the unconscious” (para 314). The Kore is a part of the “impersonal psyche” common to all people (ibid).

For women, the Kore image speak to “the supraordinate personality or self” (para 314). If the Kore image appears, it may tells us something about the “the wholeness” of the unconscious psyche (ibid). In particular, the Kore image can tell us something about the undeveloped part of the personality. I assume equally for men and women. If the maiden image is incapable of maturation, then we may be seeing a hindrance in the individuation process. In this regard, Jung says:

 “Maidens are always doomed to die, because their exclusive domination of the feminine psyche hinders the individuation process, that is, the maturation of personality” (para. 355).

The inability to grow and mature is commonly expressed in a mythological manner. If one is too attached to feminine innocence, then life is bound to push for transformation and change. In such cases we see the Kore being exposed to dangers. Jung says:

“The Kore often appears in woman as an unknown young girl . . . . The maiden’s helplessness exposes her to all sorts of dangers, for instance of being devoured by reptiles or ritually slaughtered like a beast of sacrifice. Often there are bloody, cruel, and even obscene orgies to which the innocent child falls victim. (CW 9i, para 311)

If a woman limits her development to that of a maiden, then she is hindering her own potential to develop her personality, and to live a full life. This may work for the woman if she is content to act as “a welcome vessel for masculine projections.” Of course, this charm may wear thin in the second half of life. In this regard Jung says:

“as long as a woman is content to be a femme á homme she has no feminine individuality. She is empty and merely glitters-a welcome vessel for masculine projections. Woman as a personality, however, is a very different thing: here illusion no longer works. So that when the question of personality arises, which is as a rule the painful fact of the second half of life, the childish form of the self disappears too” (para. 355).

In myth we find the kore image as a part of the mother-maiden dyad, as the Demeter-Kore dyad. This appears to express two aspects of feminine consciouness, as innocence and wisdom. Jung reflects on the dyad:

“Demeter and Kore, mother and daughter, extend the feminine consciousness both upwards and downwards. They add an “older and younger,” “stronger and weaker” dimension to it and widen out the narrowly limited conscious mind bound in space and time, giving it intimations of a greater and more comprehensive personality which has a share in the eternal course of things.” (para 316).

If seen in older adults as a fixated image, the Kore may represent the underdeveloped part of the personality. In other words it is the aspect of the personality that needs to enter the cycles of life– of growth, development, transformation.

We see the images of the Kore everywhere. Advertising loves ‘feminine innocence’. Males and females alike get stuck on the image of the beautiful and fair girl. In Jung’s terms this would reflect a regressive movement backward toward youth, rather than participation in psychic growth and transformation that leads to maturity and wisdom.


The Archetypes and The Collective Unconscious (Collected Works of C.G. Jung Vol.9 Part 1)


  1. The Archetypes and The Collective Unconscious (Collected Works of C.G. Jung Vol.9 Part 1)

Christ Child: the image represents the future


William Holman Hunt, The Triumph of the Innocents 1883-4. From the Tate Museum. US Public Domain via wikimedia


The child archetype is a central theme in the work of Carl Jung.  Of the Child archetype Jung says:

“One of the essential features of the child motif is its futurity. The child is potential future. Hence the occurrence of the child motif in the psychology of the individual signifies as a rule an anticipation of future developments, even though at first sight it may seem like a retrospective configuration.” (Carl Jung, CW 9i, para 278)

In the darkness of human history, the Christ Child stands as an image of the potential of the future. The child holds the potential for future change. Jung continues:

“Life is a flux, a flowing into the future, and not a stoppage or a backwash. It is therefore not surprising that so many of the mythological saviours are child gods…. the “child” paves the way for a future change of personality. In the individuation process, it anticipates the figure that comes from the synthesis of conscious and unconscious elements in the personality. It is therefore a symbol which unites the opposites; a mediator, bringer of healing, that is, one who makes whole. Because it has this meaning, the child motif is capable of the numerous transformations mentioned above: it can be ex-pressed by roundness, the circle or sphere, or else by the quaternity as another form of wholeness.”(ibid)

The image above is ‘The Triumph of the Innocents’ by William Holman Hunt. In the image Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus flee to Egypt. King Herod has ordered the killing of all the first-born males or ‘innocents’ in Bethlehem. The story is told in the Gospel of Matthew, 2: 13-18:

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Our Battle with the Sacred Mother

 The Fight with the Dragon, circa 1090. US public domain via wikimedia
The Fight with the Dragon, circa 1090. US public domain via wikimedia

In the image above, we see a fresco, circa 1090 C.E. In the image, saints battle a dragon. The dragon, according to Carl Jung, is an archetypal image of the unconscious.

The unconscious is related to the womb and is related to the mother. The unconscious, as great womb of creation, is an image of the unknown depths from which we emerge. For some this is a frightful image: as darkness, emptiness, the void, or abyss. Christian images and Western myths which depict the dragon often represent an ambivalent view of the great mother womb. The dragon resides at the edge of the darkness: gatekeeper to the dark recesses of the unknown.

The Western dragon is readily related to the Western hero (or hero-saint as depicted in the image above). The Western hero desires to defeat the monster of darkness. Jung writes: “The hero’s main feat is to overcome the monster of darkness: it is the long-hoped-for and expected triumph of consciousness over the unconscious.” (CW 9i, para. 283)

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Alchemical Vessels: mother image

Aurora and dragon. Aurora Consurgens-15th Thomas Aquinas; Marie-Louise von Franz (1966) Aurora Consurgens; A Document Attributed to Thomas Aquinas on the Problem of Opposites in Alchemy, London: Routledge & K. Paul century. Us Public Domain
Aurora and dragon. Aurora Consurgens-15th Us Public Domain

Carl Jung says that “the mother image “can be attached to … various vessels.” [1]

In alchemy, the vessel offers an imaginal space for transformation. The alchemist used vessels to carry out their alchemical operations. It was in such vessels that distillation and transformation occurred, making them a suitable image for the transformation and distillation of spiritual energies.

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